Rishi Sunak Condemned For Snubbing Post Office Campaigner While Knighting Tory Donor

Rishi Sunak at the launch of the Tory local election campaign.
Rishi Sunak at the launch of the Tory local election campaign. WPA Pool via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has been criticised for knighting a major Tory donor while apparently snubbing Post Office scandal campaigner Alan Bates.

In January, Downing Street backed calls for Bates - who was one of the thousands of sub-postmasters wrongly accused of fraud - to be knighted for his tireless efforts to secure justice for all those affected by the Horizon IT controversy.

But last week, No.10 issued a surprise list of honours - and Bates was not on it.

Instead, the prime minister handed out gongs to a number of political allies - including Tory treasurer Mohamed Mansoor, who gave the party £5 million last year.

In a letter to deputy PM Oliver Dowden, shadow Cabinet Office minister Pat McFadden said: “Just a few weeks ago, the prime minister backed calls for Alan Bates to be knighted for his contribution in delivering justice for those affected by the Horizon scandal.

“Yet, his name is absent from this list. Honours are for those who have made significant contributions to public life, so it is concerning that the government has instead deemed it proper to use this opportunity to hand out awards to Conservative Party members.”

Asked about the apparent snub this morning, post office minister Kevin Hollinrake said: “Alan’s already been offered an OBE and refused that because he didn’t want to take an honour until the whole scandal has been resolved [and] people have been compensated and people have been held to account.

“I understand that completely and that’s Alan’s choice, of course. I think we should all pay tribute to what Alan did ... and others who brought this scandal to light.”